A number of countries in the SADC region have reported outbreaks of the African armyworm since January 2006. Tanzania reported the presence of moths in their pheromone traps caught during December 2005, and Malawi and Zambia reported the occurrence of small outbreaks of larvae in their countries.
Prolonged drought in SADC countries and the start of the rainfall season in January 2006 created favourable conditions for a large scale outbreak of armwyorm, especially in Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
Weekly reports received from the Coordinator of the Armyworm Forecasting & Control Services in Tanzania during January 2006, highlighted the fact that this is one of the worst outbreaks experienced in the country, and that resource poor farmers have lost hope of harvesting. The worms are destroying all their crops, and farmers do not have reserve seeds to replant. A total of about 64,000ha of cereal crops, together with an unspecified number of pasture lands were infested since the first week of January 2006. (pers com AFS)
The map below shows the situation at the end of January. Countries bordering the infested areas should monitor the situation in their own country and report to the ICOSAMP desk as soon as armwyorm are reported in their country.